The South African film industry is fast competing in the international arena with world-class movie titles. The economic status of the industry is also increasing in value, as the local and international filmmakers take advantage of the unique beauty and edginess of the South African locations; the rates tend to be generally lower and international filmmakers take advantage of the exchange rate. This has also created room for diverse employment opportunities including marketing jobs and production jobs on both a fulltime and part-time basis.
Some of the foremost titles include Gavin Hood’s Tsotsi, which won an Academy Award for the best foreign language film in 2006. Another Academy Award winner was District 9 released in 2010; followed by other stories that have gained internationally recognised titles such as Yesterday, uCarmen eKhayelitsha and the documentary A Lion’s Tale.
International productions that have been shot in South Africa include Fury Road, Mad Max 4, Blood Diamond and Invictus. Cape Town’s majestic landscape has also been featured in movies such as Lord of War. The country is obviously making its mark in the internal mark, especially after the 2014 release of Zee Ntuli’s Hard to Get starring South Africa’s freshest talent including Israel Mokoe, Pallance Dladla, Thishiwe Ziqubu, Pakamisa Zwedala and Jerry Mofokeng.
One of the biggest storytelling challenges South Africa faces is the adoption of South African stories by Hollywood. These often portray South African stories using world renowned American actors and actress; after much criticism from film critics and leading journalists; it has become apparent that Hollywood prefers to use its own stars as a South African unknown actors would not bring in an income that could potentially propel the careers of South African film producers and supporting actors to finally gain recognition.
Producers argue that a film is essentially a product and that numbers and money mean everything in the developing entertainment industry. This suggests that the country’s film industry may not have enough support to afford the creative autonomy of major film producers and directors with international acclaim. This is the sad reality, which may be changing with the new developments and an industry that is fast transforming; the recent success of Happiness is a Four Letter Word s proof of this.